Things that go EEEE OOOO in the night

I feel like I have a history with things going off in the night.

A little backstory is required for this particular rendition of shit that kept Belle awake. Our house came wired with an alarm system. To our knowledge, none of the most recent owners had ever used it, it was just there. We really didn’t even notice it because it wasn’t the type to chirp when you opened doors or windows. The control panel beside the front door and back door just lit up to show an open point of entry. The only time this alarm system became an annoyance was during a power outage (or, technically, immediately following one). Whenever the power went out, the main alarm would let out a warning blare every 60 seconds or so and one of us, usually Luffy, would mash buttons on the control panel until the stupid thing reset. This didn’t always happen, mind you, so there would be an occasional middle-of-the-night power outage that would go by without waking us. In other words, it was never annoying enough to motivate us to look into permanently disabling the system during daylight hours.

That is, until this past weekend.

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, I heard the dumpling wake up. To our best guess, he’s been having some bad dreams and he keeps randomly waking up, upset until we go check on him (and sit with him). I checked the clock (1:58am) before turning off the monitor, so as not to wake Luffy, and heading back to the dumpling’s room. While I was back there, patting and shushing, I realized that it was a bit chilly. We had a cold snap blow through Saturday afternoon and had turned the heater on for the first time in a week. I wondered to myself if the pilot was still lit (it hadn’t been, when I’d turned it on last week). So at one point, I decided to give the dumpling some space and went to check on the pilot. I crept through the quiet house, unlocking the inner closet door to the furnace. I didn’t turn on any lights, figuring I’d be able to see the lit pilot without an issue. I opened the panel and peeeeeeered in –

EH WHOOP. EEEE OOOO. EEEEE OOOO.

I nearly had a heart attack as I, at first, assumed I had tripped some weird alarm that I had no knowledge of. I did quickly come to my senses and realize that we were dealing with a power outage and off I sprinted through the dark house, trying to disable the alarm. After what felt like an eternity, I finally managed to get the alarm silenced (instead of its intermittent signal, it decided on a continuous one for this night – an ominous sign had I known to look for one). Of course, as soon as I had it quieted down, Luffy came stumbling out of our bedroom, looking for the cause of the raucous.

“Power outage,” I told him, “I’m so sorry you got woken up.” He mumbled something about alarms and gestured to the front of the house and the crying baby.

“Oh, he’s awake separately, but now that you’re awake, you mind checking on?”

Luffy headed back to whisper sweet sleep nothings to the dumpling while I sort of padded around the house, trying to slow my heart rate.

EEEE OOOO EEEE OOOO EEEE OOOO EEEE OOOO

I dashed over to the nearest panel and frantically mashed buttons (there’s nothing like a blaring noise at 2 in the morning to both (1) lower your ability to form coherent thoughts and (2) make you frantically mash buttons until the noise ceases). My mashing did at least silence the alarm though, dubious that I’d done anything productive, I traded places with Luffy to let him deal with the button mashing. He was successful and I sent him back to bed while I comforted a, probably, confused dumpling. Not 60 seconds later….

EEEE OOOO EEEE OOOO EEEE OOOO EEEE OOOO

EEEE OOOO EEEE OOOO EEEE OOOO EEEE OOOO

EEEE OOOO EEEE OOOO EEEE OOOO EEEE OOOO

I waited and waited, listening to a somewhat muffled blaring, but it didn’t turn off this time. I left the dumpling to fend for himself and went off in search of Luffy who I found frantically mashing buttons on the back control panel. When it was clear that our button mashing wasn’t going to cut it this time, I flipped the main breaker to give us some quiet and Luffy decided to go up into the attic, as that’s where the alarm seemed to be coming from.

The following ten minutes or so passed in a haze of a piercing alarm, more button mashing, and Luffy’s unsuccessful search for the source of the alarm in the attic. We switched places (is it appropriate at this point to mention that I was bare-cheeked?? I had only put on a flannel shirt to attend to the dumpling and had gotten too side-tracked with the whole ear-piercing alarm thing to put on undies. It was a little drafty up there, is all I’ll say.) and I immediately spotted the source of the alarm: a self-contained, two tone siren. I know the name of it because I glanced over the label before sending up a half prayer that cutting the wires wouldn’t lead to Phoebe-with-the-smoke-detector levels autonomy. And then… snip snip, followed by blessed silence.

Of course, by that point, Luffy and I were both too hopped up on adrenaline to fall back asleep, unlike a certain small person who decided, half way through the blaring, that on second thought, he could settle himself back down, thanks mom.

 

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Wardrobe Malfunction

For the past (does some math…. THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT…. does math again) three years, I’ve taught an exercise class after work. Before the dumpling came along I taught Monday and Wednesday at 6:30. I just cover the Monday class now (along with my Saturday morning class), but the point is that I’ve been teaching after work for three years now. My routine has always been the same – I pack up my exercise bag the night before with my clothes and I change in the bathroom at work (the bathrooms at the center where I teach are communal bathrooms for the entire retail strip and they are a little…. gross). One time, shortly after I picked up this schedule, I left my socks at home and had to work out without socks. It wasn’t pleasant, but I made it through and I always have a spare pair of socks in my bag now – just in case. Probably at least once a month though, I always wonder what I would do if I forgot some other essential piece like my pants or my sports bra. Oh man, that wouldn’t be good.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what happened on Monday.

I was changing at work, like usual, balancing on one foot as I removed my dress socks and put on regular socks, when it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t pulled a bra out of my bag when I pulled out my clothes. No, I thought incredulously, I must have just missed it. I pawed through my bag again, although it was painfully clear that I did not have a bra. Honestly, I couldn’t do anything but laugh at myself. What on EARTH was I going to do now? I didn’t have time to stop to pick one up (although I briefly contemplated if it was worth being late over). I also happened to pick the worst possible top for a no-bra situation. It was a loose tank with cut-out sides, in other words, no support and a side-boob situation going on. I didn’t even have a crappy shelf-bra to console myself with!

So what does any girl do when confronted with a dilemma regarding boobs and bras and the lack there-of? I called my mom.

Moooooooooooooooommmmm!!!!! HALP!

She, of course, talked me down and suggested I just wear my regular bra. Don’t worry, she said, your students will all think it’s hilarious.

And they did! It was a lovely time to meet a new student of course (nice to meet you! sorry about the side-boob), but we all laughed about it. I joked that at least I hadn’t forgotten my pants (ohdearlordinheaven, please let me never forget my pants). It also wasn’t entirely bad. I expected my regular bra to majorly fail me through all of my jumping and hopping and lunging, but it held up just fine. I had to adjust my straps a few times, and I’m sure it helped that I just happened to be wearing a no-frills, full coverage bra (as opposed to some sort of balconette, push-up, lightly lined, unlined, plunging, etc etc contraption). But really, 7/10 would recommend.

And now I have to tell you about how hard it was to come up with a title for this, bearing in mind that I don’t want to appear in any questionable searches. Top contenders were Peek-a-boob and Don’t Fear the Nip Slip. Why no, I am not a twelve year old boy. Why do you ask?

Itchy

Ok Universe… when I mentioned the thing about being excited to take Sudafed again, I didn’t mean it as a challenge.

Let’s roll the tape back to Sunday afternoon. We’d had a pretty good weekend thus far. The dumpling had been cranky (we blamed teething at the time but since he’s still cranky today and he got FIFTEEN HOURS of sleep on Sunday, we’re thinking developmental leap. maybe? hopefully?), but Luffy and I had left his parents in charge of the dumpling on Saturday and had gone to watch Thor. (Excellent movie, btw. Our standards may be low right now, considering that we haven’t been to the movies since last December, but I’d still recommend it.) Sunday was a laid back day of football and passing the dumpling back and forth as he seemed content only while being held, but only if you were standing.

So Sunday afternoon, I start to feel a little pressure in my right sinus cavity. Not congestion, mind you, just pressure. Right before the dumpling’s bath time, Luffy mentioned that my eye looked a little puffy and I had a horrible flashback to this ER visit. In the months since then, I’ve experienced only very mild allergic reactions. Nothing like the one back in January. That is until this past Sunday when I had the very real fear that my eye might explode from pressure. (Can that actually happen? I don’t want to Google it and get, like, pictures or anything. Or be told that it actually CAN happen and just freak the F out next time….. on second thought, no one answer this question.) Thankfully, I could actually take Sudafed this time which helped immensely. I also had the bright idea to apply a cold pack to my eye every fifteen minutes or so – also a life-saver eye-saver. Other pros of this round of allergies were that (a) it was only the right eye, as opposed to both eyes back in January and (b) I wasn’t sick at the time, unlike January.

Still though, this round was nothing to sneer at. By Monday morning, some of the swelling had subsided but, thanks to irritation, my entire eye was bright red. I briefly contemplated wearing a sticker on my shirt that said I’m not diseased, just allergic but dismissed it. Wearing contacts has been out of the question for the past several days and just today – Wednesday – would I say that my eye is mostly normal again. It also kicked off a round of oh maaaan I don’t want to get sick, please let this sinus congestion pass that has been super fun. I had really hoped that the initial occurrence of this was just a freak incident. A one-time thing. If this keeps happening I might need to research getting some sort of allergy testing done. The oddest part about all of this is that the two times it’s happened, the weather apps (which I do understand might not be the most accurate of sources) all report minimal pollen. So, who knows. Maybe I’m allergic to my house. Or a random tree that only sometimes blows pollen in my direction. Or a flower that only blooms on a Sunday evening every eleven months.

Weaned

Today, November 10, 2017, my baby weaned himself.

Honestly, nursing has been so much of an afterthought lately that the milestone doesn’t really mean a whole lot, in terms of our day-to-day existence. Further, this was entirely baby-led, so I’m not even celebrating a hard-earned victory or anything like that. We’re simply closing that chapter in our lives, mine and the dumpling’s.

They say that you never really know when the last time is the last, and I suppose that’s somewhat true. I had a hunch though, because he’d done the exact same thing when he dropped the evening session. Yesterday morning, he latched but didn’t stick around long enough to get anything from me, which is what he had done for his last session at night. The following night, he didn’t show any interest in nursing before bed. The difference this time: the evening sessions I took the mantra of don’t offer, don’t refuse and just didn’t offer my breast unless he asked. This time though, this morning, I did offer. And guys, he just looked at me, and was like nah – I’d really rather have some puffs thanks, and took off.

So, that’s it for us.

These milestones are hitting us right and left lately. A year old. He’s making strides cruising and walking with his push toy. He’s gaining weight, breaking his growth curve and accelerating up to the 13th percentile for the first time since he was born. He outgrew his infant car seat. He’ll throw a ball back and forth with you and will endlessly offer you things that he’s found. He claps and waves and high fives. He’s starting to drink cow’s milk. Our breastmilk stash ran out last week. And now he no longer nurses.

Sunrise. Sunset. Etc etc.

As for me, I’m super excited that I can take some Sudafed next time I’m sick. Living it up over here!

 

In pursuit of a coat

Let me preface this post by explaining that I’m not much of a shopper, especially clothes shopping. I really, really don’t like it. Is that shirt going to look better on me than the hanger? What size should I get in this? Does this color complement my skin tone? Is this supposed to fit like this or is it just too big? Is this a piece that I can mix-and-match within my own wardrobe? WHO KNOWS. I certainly don’t. I’ve never been able to waltz into a store, pinpoint a few fantastic purchases and sashay away.

But what I especially hate? When you need something specific. I talked about trying to find a dress for my brother’s wedding, but I didn’t go into much detail. It all started about six weeks before the event. I just happened to spot (which is the best way to find things!) a perfect dress. It was the color I wanted (navy), it was a style I loved (sophisticated yet sexy), it had sparkle, it was short, it was my size. It was perfection. The only downside was that I found it online, at a second-hand site (which was actually a decisive pro at first because a $380 dress for $60? Don’t mind if I do!). I could barely contain my excitement when the package arrived. Of course, if you read what I linked to earlier, you know that it didn’t work out. It fit, as in I could zip it up, but it did not fit my body at all. Weird bunching at the zipper and the torso section was too long.

Not a problem! I just sent it back and started perusing the same site for wedding dress v2. I searched and searched and waited for my return to be processed (the free return option only gives you the ability to get store credit which is fine, it’s what I wanted, I just needed my return processed so that I could apply those funds to the new dress). I found a second dress! Not quite the color I wanted (gray this time), but it was by a favorite brand of mine and it was embellished like I enjoy. In a moment of suspense, the dress was unavailable for a period of time (reserved in someone’s cart*) but then became available again. Whew! The moment my return was processed and my funds were available, I snapped up the second dress.

My only issue now was that the wedding was less than a ten days way. The dress v2 wasn’t slated for delivery until the Wednesday before the wedding – what if it didn’t fit either? So, I sucked it up and went to the mall (which, ugh, I haven’t been to a mall in ages and they are really sort of sad) in pursuit of a dress. I went to my go-to for cocktail dresses – Dillard’s – but I could already spot trouble. My brand of choice for cocktail dresses (BCBG) had absolutely nothing I wanted. So I moved on to the regular dress section and encountered my first (second? third? millionth?) problem – all of the dresses in the women’s section were too large to fit me off the rack. However, none of the junior’s dresses provided the sort of support I needed (now that I have breastfed a child, I totally get it when bra makers talk about shaping and structure). I found one dress I liked, but it literally was like the kitchen sink of dresses (short! full skirt! flower print! two piece! lace! sequins! a bow! let’s just bedazzle the heck out of this poor piece of fabric! wheeeeee!!!!!!). After I had been there for, no lie, two freaking hours trying on dress after dress after dress, I finally grabbed a dress that I had initially spotted and dismissed because it was sure to be too large. Let’s just say that it is the tiniest size 6 I have ever encountered. (To be fair, it’s a junior’s size 5/6 but seriously, it fits like second skin.)

So ANYWAY. I bought the dress (I actually bought it and the kitchen sink dress because I think I can at least take off the bow thing, and then it will be super cute and sort of mostly appropriate for a 30-year-old**). And I am so glad I did because when the dress I bought from the second-hand store arrived, it was laughably huge on me. Just enormous. I didn’t even hesitate to send it back. Again.

All of this is an illustration of the horrible, terrible fact that if you absolutely need to find something, you will not be able to find it. I think it’s just guaranteed that you will only ever be able to find amazing items (you know, the ones that fit you perfectly and complement your shape and color and look effortless) if you are NOT looking. Next time, I’ll try to con the universe by pretending to shop for a swimsuit instead of jeans.

I’ve dealt with this a lot recently – from the wedding dress to my hunt for a the perfect outfit to photograph. And this time of year always brings it up because every year I convince myself that I would love a pair of boots. And every year I search high and low for a pair of boots. And EVERY. YEAR. I do not find a pair of boots. I do not own a pair of boots and yet I swear I have been searching for a pair of boots for the last five years.

And now I have another dilemma: I want a new jacket. I have a fleece jacket, for the casual look. I have a beautiful wool coat for the (few) bitterly cold days. I have a gorgeous rain jacket for bridging the in-between (or for those times on the weekend when I want to look more put-together than a gray fleece jacket from Target). The problem is that the rain jacket isn’t really warm. Cute! Functional! But warm, no. So I’m trying to find something that (a) looks a touch classier than your average fleece zip-up, (b) is not as buttoned-up as a wool coat, (c) looks good on me, and (d) is warm, but like Texas-winter warm (ie – I do not need it to be cold rated to -30, lololololz). Is that too much to ask? Should I lower my bar? Ugh, tell me now. Perhaps I should have started looking in the summer.

*Interesting side-story. The second-hand site allows you to mark items as “favorites” so that you can quickly view them again. It reserves items in a basket for 24 hours and marks them unavailable for you, but you can still view them. So it allowed me to sort of follow along as some other girl out there, with a taste and size similar to mine, also shopped for a cocktail dress. The black one (I assume) she ended up choosing was cute, although I think she should have risked it for the pink Kate Spade number.

** That’s right folks! As of TODAY I am 30. Oye. Where does the time go?

First Birthday Party

We had the dumpling’s first birthday party this weekend!

It was such a whirlwind weekend that it’s honestly hard to re-cap. I spent a lot of time cleaning our house (nothing like a house full of guests as motivation to get the house spic and span!). I baked the cake layers on Saturday. These turned out beautifully (I followed Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for confetti cake!) and went into the freezer to be frosted the next day.

Sunday morning passed in a haze of oh we have plenty of time to prep to OMG THE PARTY STARTS IN FIFTEEN MINUTES AND WE STILL DON’T HAVE A FULLY FROSTED CAKE!!! So that was fun and stressful. But the party itself was fantastic! We had friends and family there, including two kids just a few months older than the dumpling. It was very entertaining to watch them play.

My absolute favorite part was the cake cutting. We set the cake on our kitchen island and gathered everyone around. We sang happy birthday to a confused dumpling and then I blew his candle out (while he dipped his hand into the frosting). [For a visual picture, I had him on my hip and we were now facing his cake, away from our guests.] He got excited by something, the cake or the singing perhaps, and started clapping. Our guests, delighted by his enthusiasm, gave him an awe and a cheer. He immediately whipped around to look at them with a bewildered look on his face.  Who knew he had a cheering section! So they stop cheering and the dumpling turns back to his cake and begins clapping again. Another cheer goes up from our guests and the dumpling repeats his whip around stare. I swear to you that this happened at least three or four times and was no less hilarious the last time.

He did partake in a couple of bites of cake. I squished it for him (I had frozen the cake layers for easier frosting application but I misjudged how much time it would need to thaw…. it was still a bit firm) but he gamely tried a bite or two.

Another delightful part was when we had all the babies help us open his presents. Especially since the other two were older and were already hip to the present thing, they were more than happy to oblige. (My cousin’s daughter actually started opening a present while everyone was eating!) There was just a pile of wrapping tissue and paper and toys and babies in my living room!

Then, quite suddenly, our house was quiet again. Our friends left to make naptime and my parents left to return home and Luffy’s parents left and my brother left. I’ll admit that I got hit with a bit of melancholy. We’d had such a good time. I was sad to see it end, but that’s probably what marks a good celebration!

Happy birthday dumpling! It’s official now since there was cake!

Insanity

My office has an office-wide meeting every Monday at 8:30am. Precisely 8:30am. Sometimes a touch earlier than that because the meeting starts as soon as our lead partner sits down.

I have been running varying degrees of late for that Monday morning meeting for about four years now.

Part of the issue is that I REFUSE to leave my house any earlier than absolutely necessary. Which, I know. This basically all boils down to my problem because if I’d just shoot for leaving the house at 7:30 instead of 7:45, I’d be on-time the majority of the time. But this would also require me to get up earlier. And I’d be puttering around the office waiting for the meeting to begin. And have you actually ever tried to leave the house almost an hour before you normally do? Because it’s rough. So I shoot for leaving at 7:45 which (a) is still a miracle when I do and (b) gives me plenty of time as long as traffic runs fairly smoothly and I actually leave the house on time.

The rest of the issue is simply having to be somewhere at a specific time because we all know that life gets in the way of that. Some days I get out the door five minutes late and thus arrive five minutes late, ensuring that I’m flying through the office door just as the meeting gets started. Some days I leave on time, congratulate myself on that, and then spend my few precious extra minutes stuck in traffic. Other days, like today, I leave on time and then traffic goes kablooey and I waltz in fifteen minutes late because I just spent 55 minutes getting to work. Usually I do not care whatsoever about being late due to traffic. In my mind, I’m 100% responsible for everything that happens up to me getting in my car. After that, it’s out of my hands and I don’t stress about it. The problem here though is that because I’m late to this meeting so often, I do feel bad about being so late. Especially when I left on-time! It wasn’t my fault! I tried! Really! 

Every Monday morning, as I watch the clock tick closer and closer to 8:30, I promise myself that this is the last Monday like this. Next week I’ll leave earlier. Next week I’ll try for 7:30 or, hell, even just 7:40. Next week.

And then what happens the next week? I do none of those things and kick myself all over again. Which I’m pretty sure is the definition of insanity, but hey, it’s gotten me this far. Might as well keep it up.